HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The Pennsylvania Senate passed Republican-sponsored legislation Tuesday to prohibit transgender women from participating in women’s sports.
The proposal, which passed 30-20, now heads to the House, where an identical bill was previously approved. One Democrat, Sen. Lisa Boscola of Northampton County, crossed party lines to vote in favor of the Senate version.
Sponsored by Sen. Judy Ward, R-Blair, the bill requires public K-12 schools and colleges to designate sports as male, female or coed.
During floor debate, supporters argued the bill would level the playing field for cisgender women. Opponents said the bill would harm vulnerable young people.
“Where are the feminists?” said Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, the current Republican gubernatorial nominee, who backs the measure. “I stand on the side of the lady athletes. I stand on the side of science.”
“My colleagues across the aisle asked: where are the feminists? We are right here,” said Sen. Amanda Cappelletti, D-Montgomery. “We are standing in opposition to Senate Bill 1191 because trans girls are girls; trans women are women.”
Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf will veto the legislation if it makes it to his desk, his spokeswoman Beth Rementer said.
“Republicans in the General Assembly have made it clear that they would rather focus on attention seeking stunts instead of addressing critical issues,” she said in an email.
More than a dozen other states have enacted legislation that bans transgender athletes from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity.
Brooke Schultz is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow Brooke Schultz on Twitter.